Microsoft Research will open its 13th lab in New York City, thanks to an exodus of 14 scientists from Yahoo. Microsoft essentially kept intact a team that was looking at the intersection of big data and social media, with a heavy dose of machine learning. This is fertile ground, but one has to note that this team didn’t seem to do much for Yahoo’s social, search or advertising products. At least not based on the evidence of Yahoo’s shrinking search share, its sluggish ad business (even with a re-emphasized data focus) and utter lack of social media presence. When asked why Microsoft rather than Google, prediction markets guru David Penrock answered “Microsoft is a fantastic place for research because it balances the academic and the product-impact sides,” according to the New York Times. Is that a good thing?